Stumble Inn by George Herriman

There's a lot of George Herriman's Krazy Kat being reprinted these days, but not so many people are familiar with one of his other newspaper comic strips from the 1920's, Stumble Inn.

Stumble Inn is kind of like Fawlty Towers in that it all takes place in a small hotel with a small cast of regular characters...

The Main characters are:
Uriah Stumble,
Stumble Inn by George Herriman comic strip scan
-- the long-suffering proprietor of the eponymous hotel...

Mr. Owl-Eye,
Mr. Owl-Eye the detective house dick Stumble Inn George Herriman comic strip scan
the "house dick"
(or hotel detective, if you please...)

Mr. Weewee (oui, oui)
Mr. Weewee the French chef who works in the kitchen in George Herriman's Stumble Inn comic strip scan high-resolution
the French chef who works in the kitchen

and Joe Beamish --
cat man asleep in couch chair George Herriman scan
a character who does absolutely nothing but sleep in the soft chairs in the lobby. I gather from the strip that he's not a paying guest, but rather just a lazy local who takes up space. It's amazing how much mileage George Herriman can get out of a character that never so much as opens his eyes!

Oh -- and a never-ending supply of "guests"
A guest at George Herriman's Stumble Inn speaks with Uriah Stumble in this detail from vintage comic strip scan
that can "stumble in" to the strip for added comedy situations.

Okay -- enough intro!

On with today's Stumble Inn comic strip ...

George Herriman Stumble Inn motel interior lobby high resolution hi-res comic strip scan

Joe Beamish asleep in chair wih kitty cat asleep on his lap George Herriman Stumble Inn high resolution hi-res comic strip scan

Uriah Stumble calls upstairs to his wife Ida

Uriah's wife tell him to put the cat outside George Herriman Stumble Inn

Uriah carries the whole chair outside with sleeping Joe Beamish and the cat on his lap

Interior cartoon bedroom 1920's lit by candlelight man takes off his suspenders

Here's the whole Stumble Inn comic strip at 300dpi...

George Herriman Stumble Inn high resolution hi-res comic strip scan

Yes, folks...this giant 6-panel strip is a DAILY comic strip! It measure about 6 inches tall by 12 inches wide. Too big to fit in my scanner. It's bigger than today's Sunday strips! I bought a small run of 26 consecutive comic strips on eBay a few years ago, and every single one of them has just as much love and detail and early 20th century urban funkiness as this one does.

I love when Herriman is drawing in this mode. It reminds me of his illustrations for the Archy and Mehitabel books.
archy and mehitabel comic illustration by George Herriman from book of poems by Don Marquis
His pen strokes are so assured and bouncy, filling his cartoons with vim and vigor!

According to Allan Holtz at The Stripper's Guide, George Herriman's Stumble Inn ran 10/30/1922-1/9/1926. That's right in the middle of his Krazy Kat output. George Herriman worked on at least 27 different comic strip titles in his life, and oftentimes many different strips ran at the same time. During his 1913-1944 run on Krazy Kat, he also concurrently created strips such as this one and Baron Bean ( I always liked that play on words: barren bean = empty head. I love it when people called someone's head their "bean.")

There's a nice example of a Stumble Inn color Sunday page HERE.

On a personal note, it is the cartooning genius of George Herriman (along with Roy Crane, and Harvey Kurtzman) that got me really excited about the boundless possibilities of cartooning. Now that there are so many reprint projects going on, I urge you to seek out the work of these "old masters" of cartoon art.

George Herriman Self Portrait drawing with Krazy Kat


Merwan said...

so much details on a daily basis... I can only respect the amount of work and endurance required.
also there are some great ideas (the cook looks great, and the sleeping man is a great idea, I wonder how he plays with it).

Merwan said...

I thought I'd share this:

I can't help but NOT be spontaneously hooked on these 3 cartoonists styles (ok, minus Kurtzman maybe), I mean it doesn't look too appealing to me (specially Roy Crane, but I revised my judgement a bit, after skipping through one article).
not at the first look, at least.
to illustrate my point: when I was reading comics as a little kid (around 1988-1990), that's the kind of art I always skipped, and instead, I read Mickey, Donald for example. and marvel/dc comics. and european humor comics. and some other stuff probably.

on the other hand, I'm trying to look beyond my own personal taste for a while (thanks to the advice of a friend of mine) and I'm starting to appreciate some of these "old school" styles (I was told about Little Nemo for example) in order to get my foundations right.
and they're appealing too, just not as much. or in some other way, maybe.

Sherm said...

Hi Merwan -- I totally understand what you mean; Many of the artists that I currently love are people that I hated when I was a kid: Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko being prime examples. I don't even think liked Herriman and Crane at first…but when I heard Wally Wood and Charles Schulz both cite him as an important influence, I sat up and took notice :)

Merwan said...

ahh, this is bad, I'm getting really, really addicted to all this :D !

yearstricken said...

Two confessions: (1) I like your blog (2) I "borrowed" a Fizzies ad on my blog at